Pediatric Vision Care
What Is Special about Children's Vision?
Vision in the broadest sense, is the global ability of the brain to extract, process and act on information presented to the eye. This complex process can be thought of as three major but related areas: visual acuity, which is largely dependent upon refractive status and eye health; visual efficiency skills, representing eye focusing, teaming, and tracking skills; and visual information processing, representing the ability to recognize and discriminate visual stimuli and to interpret them correctly based upon previous experience. Every examination we provide for children, regardless of the child's age, has these thoughts in mind.
Early Monitoring is Key for a Child's Developing Vision
Although infants and young children may not be able to read an eye chart, specialized procedures have been developed that allow us to measure the clarity of sight of children at almost any age. We also are able to evaluate eye teaming, muscle imbalances, peripheral vision, and retinal health.
The American Optometric Association guidelines recommend that all children have a complete vision and eye health examination at the age of 6 months, 3 years, upon entering kindergarten, and routine vision care (every 2 years) thereafter throughout their school years. If your child needs vision correction (glasses or contact lenses) it is then advised to have vision care every year.
At Vision Source Mandan, we are committed to the health and wellbeing of children’s eyes. This is why we are enrolled in the InfantSEE program. Through InfantSEE, our doctors provide a one-time, comprehensive eye and vision assessment at no cost to babies in their first year of life, preferably between 6 and 7 months of age. This offers early detection of potential eye and vision problems. Find out more at http://www.infantsee.org
Many vision problems can be corrected more easily with early diagnosis and treatment. Reports have estimated that up to 25% of students in grades K - 6 have vision related problems, which may contribute to poor school performance. The visual system matures rapidly during the first few years and it is important to identify any problems that may interfere with normal vision development.
According to a study by the National Eye Institute, over two-thirds of children with eye or vision disorders are missed by general school screenings. A vision screening is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye examination. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over 60% of children under the age of three did not even have their vision screened. Vision screenings are a limited process and can't be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather may indicate a potential need for further evaluation. Many school vision screenings only assess one or two areas of vision. They may not evaluate how well the child can focus his or her eyes or how well the eyes work together. Even if a child can see 20/20 in the distance, they can still have a vision problem. In reality, the vision skills needed for successful reading and learning are much more complex.
A child may not tell you they have a vision problem, because they may think that everyone sees the way they see.
A comprehensive eye examination will assess visual acuity, refractive status, ocular health, eye alignment, ocular motility, eye focusing, color vision, eye tracking, depth perception, and binocular fusion. Visual acuity measures how clearly a child sees objects. Refractive status measures for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. The child is evaluated for any eye health problems, including active pathology or congenital anomalies. Eye alignment occurs when both eyes are able to look/point at the same object at the same time. Ocular motility refers to the extraocular muscles and their ability to efficiently move both eyes into different positions of gaze. Eye focusing, or accommodation, is the eye's ability to focus on a near object or word. Color vision is essential to check since 8% of men and 1% of women have some form of color deficiency or color blindness. Eye tracking is the ability of the eyes to fixate, smoothly follow and look between objects or printed words. Depth perception, or stereopsis, is the ability of the visual system to see 3-D and for the brain to fuse the two images each eye is seeing independently. Binocular fusion is the ability to coordinate both eyes accurately and without fatigue or excessive effort. Vision happens when all these individual pieces are working together. Vision is certainly more than just 20/20!